|Is Pope Francis Dividing the Church?|
The pope's Christmas message to the curia was a stocking filled with switches and coal. (To read the message to the curia in full go here.) Filled with the typical mix of nasty and nice, the pope is ambiguous (nothing new there) about who the malicious devils are. Which is why it's necessary, in order to understand him, to consider his other statements. Since, in the past he has reserved his condemnation for those who uphold doctrine and love the Church's holy tradition, one can only presume he is going after those "rigid" folks in both the clergy and laity whom he's targeted in the past with the labels of pharisees or whose love for tradition, e.g., the Latin Mass, indicates (in his opinion) psychological problems.
I confess that I'm baffled by the meanness of this pope who talks compassion and mercy while he condemns and commits rash judgment against those who embrace tradition and orthodoxy, labeling them as "rigid" and stating that their love for Church doctrine indicates psychological illness or the attitude of the pharisees. How charitable were these statements of Pope Francis?
- "I always try to understand what is behind those individuals who are too young to have lived the pre-Conciliar liturgy, and who want it nonetheless. I have at times found myself in front of people who are too rigid, an attitude of rigidity. And I ask myself: how come so much rigidity? You dig, you dig, this rigidity always hides something: insecurity, at times perhaps something else. . . .The rigidity is defensive. True love is not rigid." [So the youth who love the TLM are rigid, insecure, and hiding something?]
- “Among Catholics there are many, not a few, many, who believe to hold the absolute truth ...They go ahead by harming others with slander and defamation, and they do great harm… And it must be combated.” [This type of comment is continually leveled at those who hold to the unchanging doctrines of the Church like the indissolubility of marriage. Among them would be Pope St. John Paul II.]
- "It is not Catholic (to say) ‘or this or nothing:’ This is not Catholic, this is heretical. Jesus always knows how to accompany us, he gives us the ideal, he accompanies us towards the ideal, He frees us from the chains of the laws' rigidity and tells us: ‘But do that up to the point that you are capable.’ And he understands us very well. He is our Lord and this is what he teaches us." [Did Jesus tell the woman caught in adultery, "Go your way and if you aren't capable of keeping the commandment against adultery just do what you're capable of?" NO! This is one more statement accusing those who stand on the rock of Christ's teaching of being heretics. But it is relativism that is part of the heresy of modernism.]
Please pray for Pope Francis continually during the Christmas season when we celebrate "Christ with us." He has brought much division to the Church and, if a recent article in Der Spiegel is accurate, Pope Francis admits that "I might go down in history for having split the Catholic Church."
Francis: Resistance to change that takes "refuge in traditions" is from the devil
By David Martin
Pope Francis is getting scurrilous in his attack on Church tradition, even saying that resistance to his reform which "takes refuge in traditions" is inspired by "the devil."
During his annual Christmas address to the Vatican's top officials on December 22, he spoke of a "hidden resistance, born of fearful or hardened hearts content with the empty rhetoric... typical of those who say they are ready for change, yet want everything to remain as it was before."
"There are also cases of malicious resistance, which spring up in misguided minds and come to the fore when the devil inspires ill intentions, often cloaked in sheep’s clothing," the pope said. "This last kind of resistance hides behind words of self-justification and often accusation; it takes refuge in traditions, appearances, [and] formalities."
Francis is upset that conservative bishops, priests, and laity are voicing their opposition to the ongoing saga of change in the Church, and now his proposed reform of the Curia, all of which break with tradition. He said the Curial reform does not concern a change of Vatican personnel, but "a conversion in persons" needed for "practical improvement." He defines this conversion as "a change of mentality," which is to include "modernization" aimed at helping the Curia "conform to the signs of the times."
"It isn’t wrinkles we need to worry about in the Church, but blemishes," the pope said. If that be the case, why is he not cleansing out the blemish of modernism that has disfigured the Holy Face and polluted his sheep?
Under the tag of "catholicity," he is calling for a greater role of women and lay people at the Vatican. "Of great importance is an enhanced role for women and lay people in the life of the Church and their integration into roles of leadership in the Dicasteries, with particular attention to multiculturalism."
Unfortunately, emphasis on culture and ethnicity works against the Church's catholicity, since the Church by nature is universal and places no importance on race, color, or culture, but on God only. Such concerns are petty and humanistic, and are among the various "isms" that are secularizing the Church.
What we're really seeing is modernism in high gear. This change that has come upon the Church since Vatican II is known as temptation, and has been given to us by the devil through rebellious and renegade bishops who regard not the things of God. And whereas God in his permissive will allows this change as a means of testing the faithful, he requires Catholics to resist and reject all such change, and to remain ever faithful to his laws, decrees, and holy traditions.
It is man who must change to please God, but this justice can only be proved by a childlike submission to doctrine and tradition, since Catholicity consists specifically in allegiance to the legacy of Christ which we call Apostolic Tradition, not in allegiance to man.
Those who resist Church tradition are acting out of fear and malice against the goodness of God, and are taking refuge in "traditions of men" [change], fearing that the light of Heaven has come to dispel their errors. As they see it, God is a boogie-man who has come to rob them of their "reform," but such men show themselves to be ungrateful and unfit for the Kingdom of God.
And whereas they go about with words of mercy and all manner of ambiguous mumbo-jumbo, their words are two-prongs from the mouth against the goodness and majesty of the Most High. Like cockroaches, they scramble frantically for cover when the Rock of Peter is kicked over, so horrific is the prospect of having to confess that their change of the past fifty years has been wrong. Where is their humility and love of the poor? The faithful were robbed after Vatican II, so why haven't they had the mercy to restore to them the jewels of the Kingdom?
Can these men not understand that they are caught in the grips of idolatry? Do these pawns of Freemasonry not realize that they are running after strange gods and spirits that their forefathers knew not? Did they actually think for one moment that the change of Vatican II was continuous with tradition? That it was the work of the Holy Spirit?
When Christ promised that he would remain with his Church unto the consummation of the world (Matt. 28:20), it didn't mean he would be the moving spirit behind every heresy that came along, but simply meant he would remain in the Sacrifice of the Mass despite the efforts of Judases to do away with him. Heresies have plagued the Church in the past, in keeping with St. Paul's prophecy that "there must be also heresies" (1 Cor. 11:19), so we should understand that the greatest of these heresies [Modernism] is with us today....
It is enough to say that the Catholic Church today needs no reforms, other than the "reform of the reform" proposed by Pope Benedict XVI. This is the change that God requires of His Church and the change that will effect a true conversion in souls. After all, the only true response to "the signs of the times" is to reject the modern changes that have brought on these ugly signs.
Let us strive then to reform the Church in this way, knowing that without such a reform, any "efforts at practical improvement will be in vain."